Top events in Greece

October
28

For many visitors this might be less of an attraction than something to avoid, as towns and cities all over Greece tend to grind to a halt for a...

November
01

Southeast Europe’s major film festival attracts new and emerging film makers from all over the Balkans and beyond. This 10-day event also features...

November
04

Southeast Europe’s major film festival attracts new and emerging film makers from all over the Balkans and beyond. This 10-day event also features...

The Acropolis, Greece
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

The Acropolis, Greece

© Goodshoot / Thinkstock

Greece Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

131,957 sq km (50,949 sq miles).

Population

10.8 million (2013).

Population density

81.6 per sq km.

Capital

Athens.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Karolos Papoulias since 2005.

Head of government

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras since 2012.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.

A flavourful melting pot of sparkling nightspots, fresh seafood, sizzling Mediterranean passion and mythical legend, Greece is a fascinating and enchanting destination - whether lounging on a sandy stretch, or exploring ancient relics.

Greece's urban hubs are home to some of the world's most glorious and prized ancient and medieval architecture - such as Athens' white marble Parthenon and Thessaloniki’s proud Byzantine churches - and the setting of some of humankind's oldest tales. On the coast, find bustling, umbrella-peppered beaches and secluded sandy coves, washed by turquoise waters and regularly doused in sunshine.

Off shore, Greece's 1400 islands, such as party-hard Mykonos and picturesque Santorini, offer a rainbow of paradisiacal settings for an idyllic island-hopping adventure. Find true Mediterranean peace on Kefalonia and Amorgos, ideal hiking terrain on the peaks and troughs of Crete, and prime scuba diving and sea kayaking conditions around pretty much every coastal corner.

But to explore the islands in the best way possible, you should charter a sailing boat. This can be bareboat (where you only hire the boat, but one of your group will need to have a sailing license), with a skipper, or as part of a flotilla (a group of six to ten boats, lead by an expert). Most sailing holidays last one week, and give you the luxury of being able to explore hidden coves, put down anchor in an emerald bay and swim, or moor up along the quay in one of Greece’s countless little fishing villages.

Feast on healthy Mediterranean fare, prepared with local seasonal produce and plenty of olive oil. Greek cuisine is more than just standard moussaka and kebabs, as the plethora of eateries serving ‘modern taverna’ fare attest - think salads with rocket and pomegranate, tasty casseroles combining pork and prunes, and delicious seafood dishes served with unexpected flavours such as aubergine or fennel. Some of the wines are pretty good too.

Do as the locals do a take an afternoon nap to restore energy for Greece’s hedonistic nightlife – chi-chi cocktail bars, open-air concerts and dancing on the beach below a starlit sky. Call it narcisstic, but the Greeks certainly know how to party.

When it comes to places to stay, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Those looking for extreme comfort might opt for a five-star resort complete with a luxurious spa and villas with private plunge pools, or a quaint boutique hotel furnished with traditional antique furniture, while those who prefer a back-to-nature escape can simply pitch a tent under a tree with a sea view at one of Greece’s many well-equipped campsites.

And don’t be put off by what the newspapers say. It’s true, the Greek economy is having a rough ride, but the sun is still shining, the locals are as hospitable as ever, and as tourism contributes 16% of the national GNP (plus tens of thousands of jobs), if you come here on holiday you’ll be putting your money where it’s much needed. Kalos irthate stin Ellada - Welcome to Greece!

Travel Advice

Last updated: 23 October 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

There are regular strikes. These are sometimes called at short notice and can cause disruption to public transport in and out of Greece (including air travel and ports). Demonstrations take place regularly in central Athens, and have also taken place in other towns and cities. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities.

In the early hours of 10 April there was a large explosion outside the Bank of Greece in central Athens. There are no reported injuries.

There is a general threat from terrorism and acts of political violence.

The emergency services number in Greece is 112. Calling 999 from a UK mobile in Greece will automatically transfer you to the Greek emergency services.

Around 2 million British nationals visit Greece every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

Carry a copy of your passport or other photographic ID which confirms British nationality at all times.

The Greek police will not accept rowdy or indecent behaviour, especially where excessive drinking is involved. Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently. Your travel insurance may not cover you after drinking.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Newsletter